Contrary to the abundant marketing messages, tap water is potentially more healthful than bottled water because it is more highly regulated and monitored for quality than bottled water. Tap water is closely regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act of 1977. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not subject to all the same testing requirements.
Did you know?
- People prefer tap water over bottled water 4 out of 5 times in blind taste tests.
- Tap water can be 1000 times cheaper than bottled water (.02¢ versus $1 – $20 per gallon).
- Over 25% of bottled water is actually filtered tap water.
- Tap water is easy to filter at the office and at home.
Where does your tap water come from?
Most people have no idea whether their tap water comes from a well or from a surface water feature such as a spring, lake or river. Either way, it starts as precipitation that has fallen to the earth and has either percolated down into underground sediments or rock or has flowed as runoff into surface water features.
Watershed stewardship – protecting your tap water source
Most likely, the tap water you drink comes from your watershed – the area of land around you that collects and stores the rainwater or snow that has fallen. It is important to take good care of your watershed – be careful what you leave on the ground or in bodies of water around you. Eventually, you may be drinking it!
Many communities where bottling companies withdraw millions of gallons of water each day suffer environmental harm from this activity. These communities are fighting multi-national corporations in local regulatory and other legal arenas. These large water withdrawals from aquifers (underground water supplies) or surface water features can negatively impact the local watershed by reducing stream flow, lowering lake levels, decreasing local water well productivity, upsetting eco-systems and causing aquatic plant growth increases and fish stock decreases. In coastal areas, salt water intrusion into aquifers and wells can be accelerated by these large fresh water withdrawals.
Find out More
You can learn more about your tap water source and quality at http://www.epa.gov/safe water/dwinfo/index.html. You can also call your local water provider. No such information is provided for bottled water.